Friday, June 11, 2010

Assorted Reviews (Because Something Needs To Go Here)

I went through a week and a half with no air-conditioning in my apartment. That led to less blogging for two reasons: the laptop overheated too often and comic-book-related thoughts had no chance of pushing out angry thoughts about a property management team that couldn't manage to fix the issue within a day or two.

I'll be getting back on the regular posting thing, but in order to put something up now, I'm going to share the pellet reviews I've done for the Best Shots team over the last few weeks.

Brightest Day #1 (Published by DC Comics): When #0 came out, I was fairly critical of it. I felt it jumped around haphazardly and had no flow to it. Whatever it was trying to do, it didn’t seem that successful at it. But issue #1? Much better. In his BSA of the issue, Troy Brownfield draws a favorable comparison between BD & 52…and I couldn’t agree more. This is due to fixing many of the problems in the #0 issue. Deadman seems more like a character and is used less clumsily as a transitional tool. We’re given a better sense of what the cast is going to encounter in the series. We’re shown that there’s something more than just observing a day in the lives of the characters going on here, which is better than what we were given in the initial issue.

Brightest Day #3 (Published by DC Comics): There’s something about how the different segments of this issue were weaved together that was not entirely satisfying. Each bit feels less substantial than the number of pages devoted to it suggest it should be. Without using Deadman as an obvious tool of the story, it seems like the team is unable to or unwilling (for some unknown reason) to make all of the scenes read like parts of an overarching story rather than a weirdly structured anthology title with possibly one too many stories than it can service in the room available. Which isn’t to say the book isn’t enjoyable. It manages to be well illustrated and entertaining enough to be worth purchasing and continuing to follow, despite the nagging feeling that it could be better executed.

Mighty Crusaders Special #1 (Published by DC Comics): If you can get over the feeling that this was made into a special just to be able to milk an additional #1 out of the upcoming series, it is an enjoyable read as a primer on the Red Circle characters. There are several writers involved in this special, but only one pencil artist…and you come away with the sense that it benefited from both of those creative choices. Each of the Red Circle characters seems to have their strong/unique voice (possibly made easier by the team of writers vs a single writer from the previous series), while a single artist helps make for a consistency to the visuals that was sorely needed. If more of the Red Circle titles had this type of artwork, I’d hazard a guess that they might have been more successful , ironically keeping this special from ever being needed.

The Matriarch #1 (Published by Arcana Studios): Richardson & Yarbrough craft a pretty enjoyable new character: a single mom, trying to balance raising her son with being a super-heroine and working for an ad agency. It’s a good, solid read, though, through the first chapter, that wasn’t my initial opinion. In that chapter, there seemed to be a rush to get as many of the character’s little hooks out on to the page as quickly as possible. While the urge is understandable (or would have been if there wasn’t so much room left in the book), it really hurts the character’s chance to naturally grow on the reader. Thankfully, the second chapter has a much better flow to it. It isn’t perfect, as the idea behind what the protagonists are fighting against could be more clearly defined, but we learn about the characters in a much more organic way than the prior chapter. The third chapter more closely resembles the first than the second, but creators were successful enough in the middle of the book for the good will to transfer through to the end. It’s worth a read if you can snag a copy. (edit: I didn't realize this had previously been a webcomic at the time of review)

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